Boston Offers Clergy Wellness Seminar by Woman Minister

The Archdiocese of Boston Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is offering wellness seminars for priests. Several of them strike us as odd, and risk working against the spiritual wellness of Catholic priests. Then there is the matter of the struggling Clergy Fund.

Centering Prayer Workshop
One of them is in June 2016 in Duxbury offered by Rev Meninger OCSO on the New Age practice of Centering Prayer. Of course, one of the big problems is that Centering Prayer actually is not a “prayer” and it is not even Christian. It originated with Abbot Thomas Keating at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, but its origins are a pagan practice and it’s more like a form of self-hypnosis.

Authentic Christian prayer and meditation stem from contact with God. Proponents of centering prayer claim prayer centers in one’s being, as opposed to what prayer should be–namely, a conversation with God from the center of our souls. Read this excellent piece, The Danger of Centering Prayer which clearly articulates how Centering Prayers exercises are “at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.”

As reported by Catholic Culture, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of’ the Faith under then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned about the dangers of blending Christian prayer and Eastern methods of meditation (e.g., Zen, Transcendental Meditation and yoga). Although Some Aspects of Christian Meditation does not single out any persons or schools of thought by name, many of its warnings apply to the centering- prayer literature, including the writings of Abbot Keating and his spiritual disciple Father Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. Both have backgrounds in Eastern meditation methods and cite those experiences favorably as instructive for today’s Christians.


Cardinal Ratzinger warned about methods which “try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible, or conceptually limited.” An approach of this sort to prayer may actually be “an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which as such is neither terrestrial, sense perceptible nor capable of conceptualization.” Besides the temptation to reject the material world in this approach there is another problem-indicated by Cardinal Ratzinger’s use of the word “oneself” in the last quote-the temptation to ascend to God by one’s own power or strength. In fact it is God’s choice, not ours, whether we enter the sphere of the divine. “God is free to ’empty’ us of all that holds us back …. to draw us completely into the Trinitarian life of his eternal love,” but this gift is granted “not through our own efforts.

Time Management, facilitated by a Protestant Minister
In April there is a session at our Lady Help of Christians in Newton offered by a Rev. Nancy Foran–she is a minister in the United Church of Christ and pastor at Raymond Village Community Church in Maine, and specializes in Myers-Briggs. Can we not find any Catholics in Boston who are good at managing time to lead such a session? The brochure can be found below:

Clergy Wellness Brochure Side 1

Clergy Wellness Brochure Side 2

Who picks these sessions?!

Clergy Fund

As BCI has mentioned previously, the Clergy Fund is adding nothing to the rapidly depleting reserves–what is collected at Christmas, Easter, Assessments, September Collection and Annual Priest Appreciation Dinner goes directly to pay annual expenses. With more clergy retiring, that means increasing retirement and medical expenses, and that means reserves get tapped to pay those expenses.

Other that that, Boston is doing a good job taking care of clergy.


6 Responses to Boston Offers Clergy Wellness Seminar by Woman Minister

  1. Cor says:

    Clergy fund was sapped by mismanagement. Annual dinner was supposed to be a one-time deal to get it back on track. Now, it is annual event. Not encouraging–appears that the fiscal mismanagement continues. Add the “centering prayer” and time management, and it appears BCI has another trifecta!

  2. Tom Syseskey says:

    What’s wrong with that? In January 2014 His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop asked the Rev. Ann Robertson, a pastor in the pro-abort United Methodist Church, to anoint his forehead with “consecrated” water [whatever that is] in an “ecumenical baptism reaffirmation” ritual [whatever that is]!

  3. L.Adrean says:

    “the New Age practice of Centering Prayer.”

    been there,….done that….NO THANK YOU!!

    & to my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ
    You rescued me from the jaws of hell when the new-age doors of hell were wide open.
    Thank You Lord.
    Thank you Mary.

    Ad Majorem Dei Gloria.

  4. Cor says:

    I give generously to the appeals for the retired religious sisters. I know one, in her seventies, working three jobs trying to survive. She was a college professor. The clergy fund excesses and abuses are scandalous–even more so given the plight of our blessed sisters. God, please help us?

  5. Alice Slattery says:

    Should we be surprised at anything that is presently happening in the Boston Archdiocese? Despite Cardinal O’Malley’s avid support for what is going on at St. Cecilia parish on 18 Belvidere St.,Boston, he overlooks the fact that on Mar. 6, 2016,, the guest Lenten speaker will be H. John McDargh, associate professor of theology at Boston College. He will be focusing on the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy,as well as theological anthropology. Cardinal O’Malley, along with Fr. John Unni, certainly must know that H.John McDargh lives in a same-sex sexual relationship (he calls it “marriage”), with Tim Dunn, and has been instrumental in
    trying to recruit professors who live in this similar sinful manner. In his description of his work at Boston College in the Capstone Program ,McDargh specializes in” the study of childhood development and religious formation.” Among his courses at Boston College School of Theology is “Telling Our Stories,Living Our Lives”.
    The question to ask is: Why on earth would Cardinal O’Malley and Fr. Unni wish a person, who has chosen to live in this sinful manner, to speak to parishioners in a Catholic parish such as St. Cecilia’s , as a Lenten Speaker?
    Cardinal O’Malley has assured me previously that everything happening at St. Cecilia’s in Boston is in keeping with Catholic teaching. If this is an example of Catholic teaching, then we are in big trouble!

  6. Alice Slattery says:

    In the Feb.26 bulletin for St. Cecilia Parish(,p.6 describes what H.John McDargh will speak about-“The Opposite of Judgment is Mercy.” It states that :”At BC he is one of the founders of the LGBTQ faculty/staff affinity group.” The bulletin states that :”Mr. McDargh has been for thirty six years a member of the theological faculty of Boston College.”.
    Take a look at some of the professors teaching in the BC Social Work Dept. and you will see the devastation that H.John McDargh has managed to effect to the point of laying the foundation upon which many educators and counselors of our youth are now taught
    that they can decide for themselves, in elementary school, what sex they want to be under the mandates for supporting the transexual agenda and when they are a little older(middle school) what kind of sexual behavior they choose to perform.
    This kind of thinking is now becoming even more prevalent through the spread of the Adam’s Gift foundation(Jimmy Creech is the founder). This agenda maintains that we must imitate the choice of Adam to select what we decide is good and bad and act upon it. If anyone objects to that decision, that person is to be threatened with sanctions for objecting to whatever a person chooses. Accomodations to that person’s choice must be made by everyone else.. Under this kind of belief, there is no acceptance of the truth that the redemption of our sinful acts which were first carried out by the choice of Adam and Eve to decide for themselves what is good and what is bad, was why Jesus came to redeem our sins and open the Gates of Heaven to those who remain faithful to God’s plan for His creation of His creatures. According to H.John McDargh’s thinking, there is no reason for mercy because there is no sin. How can there be any judgment if he believes we can all decide for ourselves what is good and evil , It’s all part of Adam’s Gift!
    How people who believe the way H.John McDargh believes have been allowed to teach and take over so much of the way theology and social work is taught at B.C. is truly tragic.

%d bloggers like this: